Wednesday, March 25, 2020

JJ Files Complaint Against Library Board

JJ filed an Open Meetings Act complaint against the Jackson-Hinds Library System Board of Trustees yesterday with the Mississippi Ethics Commission.  The Board took several actions in March 2019 even though a quorum was not present.  The Board also discussed and voted on several items in executive session in August 2019 even though said items are exempted from the Open Meetings Act.   JJ asked the Commission to void all actions taken at the March meeting and August Executive Session. 

The Board had its regular meeting on March 26, 2019.  Only six members attended the meeting - Dr. Earline Strickland, Mary Garner, Imelda Brown, Dr. Alferdteen Harrison, Chester Jones, and Chairman Rickey Jones - while six members were absent.  There are two vacancies on the Board.  However, the by-laws state that a quorum only exists when a majority of the members are present:

Eight  (8) members  at any regular  or special  meeting  will constitute a quorum authorized  to
transact  Board  business and  to take actions as approved  by the vote of a majority  of  those
The minutes were modified last year to require a simple majority to make a quorum yet the Board would not have met the more lax requirements. Despite not having a quorum, the Board moved full speed ahead as it plowed through the agenda, voting here and voting there.  The Board voted to:

1. Approve minutes of February meeting.
2. Approved agenda
3. Approved a motion asking Mississippi Library Commission to continue a grant program at the current formula.
4. Approved travel expenses for Executive Director.
5. Approved accepting financial and human resources  reports.
6. Approved changing dates of monthly meetings.
7. Approved changing terms of officers to two years from one year.
8. Approved three other amendments to the by-laws.

However, this wasn't the last time the Board ignored the Open Meetings Act last year.  The Board conducted a whole bunch of regular bidness in Executive Session at the August 2019 meeting.  The Open Meetings Act is rather specific on what can be discussed in Executive Session: 

* Personnel matters
* Litigation
* Plans regarding security personnel and devices
* Investigations by the public body ( Jackson water investigation, for example)
* Economic development

What did the Board discuss at the August 2019 meeting?*

* Voted not to renew internet services contract for River Hills office
* Approved law library contract with Hinds County
* Appointed a committee to investigate moving or rebuilding Byram library.
* Informing Jackson and Hinds County it would cede all interest in Tisdale library.
* Accepted and discussed regular financial report.
* Accepted and discussed regular technical services report.
* Accepted and discussed regular public services report. 

The minutes state:

Rev. McDaniels moved, second by Dr. Harrison, that the Board enter Executive Session to discuss budgetary and personnel matters, and that Mrs. Brenette Nichols, Director for Human Resources, would remain to record minutes of the Executive Session. 
  Hmmm...... do any of these items pass muster under the Open Meetings Act? One Board member had such a question.  The September Board minutes state:

Mr. C.R. Jones, Board Parliamentarian, expressed concerns about the actions taken in the Executive Session of the meeting as to the nature of the matters discussed, the character of the  motions enacted, and the census of the votes, all of which should have been made known to the  general body after the Executive Session.

Chairman Rickey Jones replied that the Executive Session was undertaken to discuss matters related to personnel and the budget and that all actions were taken unanimously.
There was a unanimous vote.  That settles it.  No violation of the Open Meetings Act took place. 

 Well, whether there were violations will be questions answered by the Ethics Commission.

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Well, SOMEONE needed to do this! Glad you did it! The Board needs to be accountable to the public.Thank you for your interest.

Anonymous said...

Good luck Kingfish. But you must remember all these people who are appointed by 'certain folks' are totally exempt from laws on the books. They got rights and privileges and also immunity. It's their turn. Don't rock the jon boat.

Dewey Decibel said...

THROW THE BOOK AT THEM! A MOLDY BOOK! And please remove the associated card from the file. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

How do you modify the minutes?

Anonymous said...

Now this is some serious shit that we need to get tot he bottom of right now. Forget the poor people understaffed and scared. Let's burden them wit a public records request. KF, this lightweight shit can wait. The evidence is not going anywhere.

Cynical Sam said...

This is a new page out of the KF book of take no prisoners.

Anonymous said...

Move along 9:42 if you don't care for the proprietor's approach to operations. Nothing forcing you to read anything here.

Michael Wolf said...

I don't want to comment on whether you are right or wrong in this matter. But, what you are doing here is so important to the idea of good government, and we should all very much appreciate that you are using these processes to test our boards and commissions. Good government is transparent, and the exceptions to transparency must never swallow the rule.
Keep doing what you are doing.

Anonymous said...

I remember when a Hinds County post would generate a lot of comments. Nobody cares any more. Not about the library or Hinds County.

Anonymous said...

Hinds that in Vermont?

Anonymous said...

Is the air conditioning on at Richard Wright? If not, the books there will end up like the ones at Tisdale. Sad.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

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Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS